Today was a good day.
I absolutely love my church here at home. I've been going there since I was 14 years old, and have so many wonderful memories from that place, and it's filled with so many people that I love so much. This morning I went to the 9:30 service, and then sat in the cafe during the 11:00 service, planning to read my Bible while my friends taught Sunday school. I read my Bible for about 2 minutes before people began stopping by to say hi and welcome me home. I felt so loved, and it was really great to catch up with people I haven't seen in awhile... as soon as one person would leave my table, another would walk up. It was an hour and a half full of hugs, laughs, and encouragement. My love tank was certainly full by the end of the morning.
I did get a little sad during worship, as I thought about the band in Chattanooga, wishing I was worshipping with them, and praying that the Lord was using them in a mighty way as they led the CUMC congregation miles and miles away, but I know this is where the Lord wants me for right now. I got sad, but I felt His comforting peace wrap around me almost immediately.
Todd's sermon was great this morning, and I'm excited to be sitting under his teaching again for the next few weeks. Todd talked about Elijah and Elisha this morning, and I think the things he said as he helped prepare us for communion are what stuck out to me the most.
*He talked about the Jordan, and asked us where we were.... am I standing on its bank, looking across at the promise land, stuck... or have I crossed the river and truly entered into all that the Lord has for me in my salvation, reminding our church that before we can be resurrected, we must first die. Of course I know Him, and have been resurrected into new life, but sitting there, I was so convicted of the things that need to die in my life today; the things that are holding me hostage from experience true freedom.
*Then he brought up Jericho, and asked who was in the midst of a battle? Who might be choosing sin and rebellion over Him? I talked to my friend Ryan about freedom in Christ the other night, and he and Todd both reminded me that the battle cannot be fought and won on our own. At Jericho, the people never even had to lift a weapon in order to win. God won for them. When we let the "walls" come down, it's there that true life is found in Jesus.
It was a good morning.
Then tonight, I went to the youth service "Elevate," to see Becca lead worship and hear Ben preach, and ended up being asked to lead the 9th grade girls small group discussion afterward. Ben and Becca did a great job, and I absolutely loved hearing what the students are learning about right now. We talked some church history, and about discipleship. Ben quoted someone, saying, "What you think about you will care about. What you care about you will chase." What am I chasing these days?
Then I had to go talk to a bunch of 9th grade girls, while I was still processing what the Lord was speaking to my own heart. The girls were great though, and I hope they enjoyed our conversation as much as I did.
Afterward, I walked down to where the young adult ministry was hanging out, caught up with some friends, before heading out with Ben and Becca to see Noah and Chloe before I went home for the night. Noah recited like 30 Bible verses for me, and it was precious to say the least. I love those kids.
Yes, it was very very sad to leave Chattanooga, not knowing if I'll be back there in the fall. Yes its been an adjustment moving home. Yes, I miss my friends that I've done life with the last year and a half... but the Lord is faithful. I'm so glad I'm home right now, getting to reconnect with my friends here, hanging out with one of my best friends as she's cute and pregnant, spending time with my family, and getting poured into and encouraged as I prepare to leave for Fuge at the end of May.
Trusting that He is in control. Knowing that He has already gone before me, to camp, and to whatever awaits me in August.